EPA Considers New Restrictions On Ethylene Due To Cancer Risk

Back in 2005, U.S Environmental Protection Agency had thought of abolishing the use of ethylene oxide for sterilizing purposes since it ran the risk of causing cancer to people who lived near the plants. There was in fact a proposed rule released in the federal register dated October 24, 2005. It said that the officials also thought of banning ethylene oxide in new facilities to begin with. It would thereby automatically bring to the surface new ideas for sterilization. Due to huge pressure from industry as well as acceptance of the companies’ claims by EPA, the agency was in desperate need of a proper way to reduce its use.

In 2019, the old issue of ethylene oxide posing risks of cancer has made reappearance. EPA is thinking of a ban. Medical tools and sterilization industry are backing off saying that patients might be put in a harm’s way if ethylene oxide gets banned. Disclosure on federal lobby have made it clear that manufacturers of medical devices and sterilizers have already spent above $1 million in last 1 year to convince EPA and Congress to disregard the issue of abolishing ethylene oxide.

However, this time there is a massive difference from 2005, which is the awareness of public. Professor and head of environmental and occupational medicine at Chicago’s University of Illinois, Peter Orris said that no one in past 40 years has ever come up and said that this particular thing is harmful for the entire community. But, this time a widespread plea has come from people living in Illinois, Georgia and other places. They said of being vulnerable to the toxicity of ethylene oxide and its pollution for past many decades. They were never cautioned by the plants of its danger. In 2018, EPA had released a report which straightforwardly mentioned that there are high risks of cancer throughout U.S due to ethylene oxide.

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